A 501c(3) Nonprofit organization dedicated to providing Equine-Assisted Activities and Therapies (EAAT) to individuals working through personal and emotional challenges in all stages of life.
Under the guidance of a licensed counselor, and professionally trained staff, children and adults who may be experiencing feelings of anxiety, depression and isolation will have the opportunity to receive unconditional acceptance through a genuine connection with horses, in a peaceful and idyllic setting. Located in beautiful Millstone Township, NJ, the heart of picturesque Monmouth County horse country, Hoof Prints On The Heart offers participants a chance to reconnect with nature and explore alternative solutions to common every-day problems by actively engaging with caring and compassionate staff and equine partners in a safe, fun and therapeutic environment. In addition to helping people, Hoof Prints on the Heart gives many horses an opportunity to have a purpose long after their show career ends. We operate solely on our own resources. Your donations make the difference and allow us to enhance the lives of many people.
Hoof Prints On The Heart is honored to offer “Hoof Prints for Heroes”, a program specifically designed to work with veterans, active and reserve military members, first responders, and their families. Group and individual sessions are available in a safe, caring supportive and natural environment. Each session is custom-tailored to address participant’s individual, personal, short and long term goals, and involves the participation of a horse or horses. Session designs focus on education about equine psychology and behavior, as well as participant self-awareness. Heroes and family members will learn how horses, as prey animals in nature, are highly sensitive creatures with the ability to quickly assess situations, and provide in-the-moment feedback on our emotions. They also possess the unique ability to mirror our internal perceptions and intentions. The Hoof Prints for Heroes program is an alternative way to learn and grow, and assists participants in exploring new ways to face challenges that may result from serious trauma, or common every day stressors. Each session is unique, but some sample designs include an introduction to basic safety and horse care, equine-based grounding techniques, mindfulness, horsemanship education, leading, grooming, and trail walks. In addition to helping our veterans, Hoof Prints for Heroes gives many horses an opportunity to have a purpose long after their show career ends.
Unlike many traditional forms of healthcare, this provider has four legs, a flowing mane and tail and a soft welcoming muzzle. Instead of a cold, crowded waiting room, the receiving area is a warm and fuzzy barn filled with quiet nickers welcoming you to come in and explore your mind in an entirely new and unfamiliar way. With their large kind eyes and curious lips, horses are, by many accounts, the best healers. Naturally social animals, horses provide unconditional acceptance, friendship, companionship and love. They also release the calming and bonding hormone, oxytocin, and just by their mere touch, horses have an innate ability to cure what ails us.
Throughout history, anecdotal evidence has supported the idea that animals can be "healing”. Horses in particular, with their selfless desire to please humans and their consistent non-judgmental demeanor, offer safety and stability in a world that is sometimes filled with chaos and confusion.
Ask anyone who has ever had a relationship with a horse and they will tell you, The Best Therapists Have Four Legs!
Horses and Humans as Partners on the Healing Journey:
By nature, horses are prey animals. They are also herd animals and are instinctively drawn to exist in trusted groups. It is this inherent ability of the horse, to make split second decisions regarding the safety of a situation,that makes them ideal partners when working alongside trained human therapists. Though there is very little talking during equine therapy, there is constant communication throughout the entire session. This is because horses have the ability to mirror our true emotions, perceptions and intentions, and to give both the participant and the therapist automatic feedback on how the client views the world, in-the-moment. They do this through non-verbal cues with their ears, eyes, noses, tails, hooves and other subtle, or sometimes more obvious, body language. The therapist remains quiet for most of the session, and is there to help the participant check-in and process anything that may come up as the horse does his work.
Horses live in the present:
They do not believe you when you lie to them about how you feel. They also do not judge you or offer you advice when you tell them what is really going on in your life. In the counseling field, this term is called, “congruence”. Horses feel most comfortable when the humans they are with are congruent with their thoughts, emotions and body language. To a horse, that feels real and safe. Many people who seek out this type of approach have learned to guard their emotions, and have armed themselves with a protective layer of defense mechanisms to help them navigate the stressors and complexities of every day life. Horses, with their commanding presence and curious, often playful personalities, have the ability to slowly offer participants a safe and trusted partner to which they can reveal their true selves and begin the process of breaking down these barriers to becoming whole. All emotions are welcome in horse therapy! The key is to be honest with yourself and to understand what the horse is telling you throughout the process of getting there.
How Does it Work?
Hoof Prints On The Heart is honored to offer group and individual Equine Assisted Activity and Therapy (EAAT) sessions in a safe, caring supportive and natural environment. Most sessions involve ground-work only, though each session is custom-tailored to address participant’s individual, personal, short and long term goals, and involves the participation of a horse or horses. Session designs focus on education about equine psychology and behavior, as well as participant self-awareness. The Hoof Prints On The Heart EAAT program is an alternative way to learn and grow, and assists participants in exploring new ways to face challenges that may result from serious trauma, or common every day stressors. Each session is unique, but some sample designs include an introduction to basic safety and horse care, equine-based grounding techniques, mindfulness, horsemanship education, leading, grooming, and trail walks. Some of the skill building areas that our program focus on include resilience, conscious intentions, creative approaches to solving problems, relationship and social skills, self-confidence, self awareness, self-acceptance, trust, assertiveness, grounding, and mindfulness of the present moment. In addition to helping our participants, Hoof Prints on the Heart gives many horses an opportunity to have a purpose long after their previous career ends.
Dr. Graciela Carbajal is an independent practitioner with an office located at Golden Gait Farm. In between patients, Dr. Carbajal also volunteers her time at Hoof Prints on the Heart. Her credentials include masters in Clinical Psychology, Special Education and School Psychology. She received her Psy. D. from Pace University. For her post graduate, she partook in the Fielding Institute program in Neuropsychology. She is certified in School Psychology in both NY and NJ.
Dr. Carbajal was a full-time lecturer at Pace University working with graduate and doctoral students. In addition, she is a member of the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship Intl. (PATH INTL) and is a certified horseback riding instructor. She can also treat patients whose main language is Spanish.
Dr. Carbajal has a solid background in the specialized field of child-adolescent psychology. She worked for Elizabeth General Medical Center in the child-adolescent and adult units and was Director of its Child Outpatient Psychiatric Unit. In addition, she worked as School psychologist in Roselle and Passaic, and at the Children’s Institute in Verona.
For nearly 20 years, Dr. Graciela Carbajal has been in her own private practice. Her services have aided hundreds of people that suffer from PTSD, anxiety and depression, adjustment problems due to life changes and other stressors, medical illness, chronic pain, panic and phobic reactions, as well as loss and grieving.
As a out of network provider, Dr. Graciela Carbajal will help you get the treatment to you need through your insurance coverage so you can pay the least amount possible out-of-pocket. Out-of-network providers: Dr. Carbajal will walk you through it all. You may have an out-of-network benefit for mental health as part of your insurance plan. This benefit helps you to pay for services from therapists that are not in your company’s network. Out-of-network benefits typically require you to pay for treatment up to the amount of your deductible, and then reimburse you a significant percentage of each bill. It is always a good idea to understand your insurance plan and all its benefits clearly. Fees, insurance options, and available appointments will be discussed during the initial phone contact. Our experts will help you make sense of it all.
Feel at ease in a non-judgmental environment with Dr. Graciela Carbajal. As a relatable individual and effective listener she can help English and Spanish speaking patients cope with mental, behavioral, or emotional obstacles. A tailored therapeutic approach will be developed to address your unique needs in an always safe and ethical manner.
Expertise in treating the following:
• Anxiety and Depression
• Adjustment Problems due to life changes and other stressors
• Panic and phobic reactions
• Loss and grieving
EAP is a powerful and effective therapeutic approach that greatly impacts individuals, young and adult alike. Dr. Carbajal offers this unique treatment option, which effectively incorporates the use of horses for mental and behavioral health therapy, as well as personal development.
Your support and contributions will enable us to successfully continue our program.
Your generous donation will fund our mission.